Ghana. In March, Ghana was one of 44 countries that, at a summit in the African Union in Rwanda, signed an agreement that, if ratified by the countries at national level, will lead to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In April, a new tax system was introduced which means that all citizens must have a Tax Identification Number (TIN). Without such, Ghanaians can no longer apply for a passport or driver’s license, customs clearance goods or register a vehicle or property. According to Countryaah.com, Accra is the capital city of Ghana, a country located in Western Africa. The new type of ID number is also required for public employees to be paid their salary and for a person to be able to open a bank account. The purpose of the new system is to give the tax authority better control over all income being taxed. The new rules, however, aroused strong reactions and were particularly unpopular among people working in the informal sector.
In August, Kofi Annan passed away at the age of 80. The Ghanaian diplomat, who, through his wife Nane Lagergren Annan, had a Swedish affiliation, was the UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. Following the announcement of Annan’s death, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a week of country grief and the diplomat was given a state funeral in the capital, Accra.
President Mills died in July 2012. In accordance with the Constitution, the post was taken over by Vice President John Dramani Mahama. In December, parliamentary and presidential elections were held. The presidential election was won by NDC’s Mahama with 50.7% already in the first round, while the heaviest counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo from NPP got 47.7%. In turn, the parliamentary elections were won by the NPP, which got 47.5% of the vote, while the NDC had to settle for 46.4%. However, due to the design of the electoral system, it was NDC that received the most seats (148) against 123 for NPP. ECOWAS and AU characterized the election as predominantly free. But there were reports of widespread irregularities, prompting the opposition with the NPP to protest. A few days after the election, AU President Thomas Yayi flew to Ghana, where he met with the chairmen of both the NPP and the NDC, which he urged to form a national unity government. In vain. The NDC formed its own government on a flimsy majority.
Compared to neighboring countries, there is a relatively high respect for human rights in the country. Freedom of speech and assembly are respected and torture and ill-treatment are not used by the authorities. The biggest problems in 2012 were the slow-working judiciary, that homosexuality, as in many other African countries, was banned and the death penalty continued to apply. That year, 27 were sentenced to death, but no convictions were enforced. At the end of the year, 166 were sitting on the deaths in the country.